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Coal Tattoo

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Coal Tattoo

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Coal Tattoo
(Billy Ed Wheeler)

Travelin' down that coaltown road,
Listen to those rubber tires whine;
Goodbye to Buckeye and White Sycamore,
I'm leavin' you behind.
     I've been a coal man all my life
     Layin' down track in the hole,
     Got a back like an ironwood bent by the wind
     Blood veins blue as the coal.

Somebody said "That's a strange tattoo
You have on the side of your head."
I said "That's a blue print, left by the coal
Just a little more and I'd be dead"
     And I love the rumble and I love the dark
     I love the cool of the slate.
     But it's on down the new road lookin' for a job
     It's the travelin' and lookin' I hate.

I've stood for the union, walkin' the line,
Fought against the company;
Stood for the U. M. W. of A.
Now who's gonna stand for me?
     I got no house and I got no pay,
     Just got a worried soul;
     And this blue tattoo on the side of my head
     Left by the number nine coal.

Someday when I'm dead and gone
To Heaven, the land of my dreams,
I won't have to worry on losin' my job
To bad times 'n big machines.
     I ain't gonna pay my money away
     For pensions and hospital plans.
     I'm gonna pick coal where the blue heavens roll
     And sing with the angel bands.

Copyright Quartet Music, Inc. & Bexhill Music
Recorded by Kingston Trio, Jim Croce, Collins
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E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III